One of our very talented members, Dakota Lynch, kindly made a video tutorial for those starting out on Memverse. There is a link to it under the 'Learn' menu as well. This is a great way to introduce people to Memverse as it nicely captures how to get started and what to expect. There's a chance that you'll pick up a new tip or two even if you've been using Memverse for a while now.
We are going to take a short break from our usual good cheer to draw your attention to a sobering observation after two years of involvement with Memverse: it is not easy to maintain the discipline of bible memorization.
- 75% of people who sign up on Memverse do not make it to the end of the first month.
- Another 25% of those who remain have dropped out by the end of the second month.
- Each month thereafter, another 10-12% of people do not keep up their memorizing.
- Even after a year of memorizing, the churn rate is still roughly 10% each month.
Of the ~400 people who signed up for Memverse in January 2011, there were less than 70 still active by the end of February. By the end of the year, there will likely be less than 30 of the original group of 400.
So why are we still optimistic? These numbers are not quite as dire as they seem at first blush and, in fact, are typical of free services which are easily tried and just as easily abandoned. We also realize that many of the 400 people who signed up in January never added their first verse. Over the next year, we are planning to make the 'first five minute' experience more engaging and less confusing. (If you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you, especially those of you who recently signed up and can still remember what it was like.)
One factor that surprised us: while we feel as though we've made fairly significant improvements over the past two years, the numbers are very consistent and predictable. Even once people have integrated Memverse into their daily lives, each month 10% of them just decide to stop using it. In my case, I've come to realize the danger of being "choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures" as I go on my way (Luke 8:14-15). Luke is correct, it requires perseverance to produce a crop.
Our conclusion: Memorizing God's word requires a mental commitment fully powered by the grace of the Spirit.
Find a friend to keep you accountable. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve. And pray. In all things. Continually.
We'll see you on March 1st, 2012 for our third birthday.
It's just under a month until Christmas and then a week or so after that it will be 2011. Here are some recommendations from my 2009 experience:
Take this period to slow down on adding new verses. It will be busier than normal despite our best intentions, there'll be more on your mind, and it's better to go in to 2011 with a nice clean slate. (This is from someone who hasn't made it to the end of his verses for quite a few weeks now!)
Set a realistic goal for 2011. Take a look at what you've achieved the past few months and then set a goal that you think you can achieve with a bit of a stretch. Remember, the more verses you have in your head, the more time you'll need for review so if you added 100 this year, you might want to consider adding 80 next year. We are working on helping those of us who keep falling behind on their verses so don't throw in the towel just yet. :)
Finally, hope springs eternal in the New Year. January 2 is a great day to get someone to join you in memorizing the bible. So get a friend to join you. It's much easier together.
What is your technique for memorizing God's Word? I do not think that I'm wrong in saying that the main function of Memverse is the review, not the memorizing ... So how do you memorize Scripture off-line?
memorization, getting to know you
Bible Bee broadcast the final live. If you missed it this year, make sure to watch next year for some great inspiration.
Bible Bee, 2010
Some time ago, during one of my memorization sessions, I came to the realization that many of the verses I’d “memorized” weren’t sticking in my mind as well as I wanted them to. I would forget key words or phrases and, in some cases, even the entire verse. Since then, I’ve stopped adding quite so many verses per week and have instead focused on re-solidifying some of my past verses in memory. Over time I have noticed that I am now being able to recall most verses accurately and with little to no hesitation just like I had been able to before. Now I plan to pick up the pace and learn more verses per week than I’ve been recently, because I don’t feel like I’d be leaving behind previous verses in the process.
Well, the four best ways not including Memverse. :)
Ok, here is the last part of this series. Pray over these applications and apply them to your life as much as time will allow. . . . and more!! You will grow so much in your Christian walk with God, and we all know how absolutely wonderful that is. . .
Store your memories in the time of your youth.––”Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.” (Eccles. 12:1). Right now, your memories are fresh and strong; later, as some can testify, they will be shattered with cares and business. A new ship, or any vessel that is new, is free from leaks; but time and travel will batter it. So will it be with you; care will batter you, grief will batter you: and therefore now store yourselves. Take heed: a dozen chapters, a good catechism, a collection of useful texts and doctrines, will take no room, nor make you live the heavier, nor sleep the worse. And therefore it concerns parents, both to have such things in their hearts, and to teach them diligently to their children. (Deut. 6:7). Perhaps they may not understand the sense of them at the present; but these will be ready in their minds till grace and understanding come, and then they will help them exceedingly; as we lay some sticks or kindling ready in the chimney, which, when fire comes, signify something.
Writing what we would remember is a merciful help to the memory.––Socrates, indeed, held that letters proved the ruin of the memory, because, before the invention of letters, people committed worthy matters to memory, but afterward to books [or blogs :P ]; but certainly both memory and books are little enough to preserve those things that should be remembered. The Holy Spirit teaches better: “You shall write them upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates.” (Deut. 11:20). Yea, the king himself was to “write for himself in a book a copy of this law,” that he might remember it the better! (Deut. 17:18). The very writing of anything fixes it deeper in the mind. And therefore I should still recommend the writing of sermon-notes, not only as a help to memory, but also as a good preservative from sleeping under God’s ordinance, as also from gazing about, to the great distraction of the thoughts at that sacred employment. For, alas, how many excellent doctrines, directions, and marks have you heard, that are quite forgotten, which a discreet use of writing might have preserved unto you!
Prayer is a second help.––For “every good gift and every perfect gift,” whereof this is one, “is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17); and therefore is to be sought by frequent and earnest prayer, which is the golden key to unlock the treasures of heaven to the needy soul. O, beg it, then, of Him, that as he sanctifies the soul, he would sanctify this with the rest. And you have a ground for your prayer in John 14:26, where our Savior has said, that “the Father will send the Holy Ghost, to teach us all things, and to bring all things to our remembrance.” And this Spirit you may have for the asking: “your Heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” (Luke 11:13). Understand, that God will grant your prayer herein, there being joined with the same a due use of all other means, on which earnest prayer brings a blessing. And you must not only crave this in your solemn prayers; but also, when you are reading or hearing, you should dart up a quick prayer, “Lord, write this truth in my heart, and bless it to me!” This is like the clinching of a nail. And when you have heard a sermon, lock the chest with David’s prayer: “O Lord, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people.” (1 Chron. 29:18). Be assured that God will hear the breathings of his own Spirit, and give thee a memory to serve your turn.
Serious meditation is the last help I shall mention.–– [I know this next sentence is definitely the case with me!!] When people read or hear, and presently plunge themselves in foreign business, then generally all is lost: “For he looks at himself, and goes away, and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into” (the word signifies “to penetrate into a thing with his eye”) “the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres,” that is, considering what he has heard, “being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:24-25). By which is not meant a speculative and fruitless meditation, but that which is practical; that is, which digests the things we read or hear for use or practice: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11). Here is a truth, or a duty, or a promise, for such a time or case. Such rolling of good things in our thoughts doth habituate and familiarize them to the soul, and they abide the longer. This is clear in other cases: for, if one has received an injurious or unkind word, if it go out at one ear as it came in at the other, it leaves no great impression; but if you set yourself to ruminate upon it, and to aggravate it, then it is a long time before you forget it. And so in some measure it would be in good things: give them a little heart-room, bestow some second thoughts upon them, shut the book when you have read a little, and think of it; and it will abide. It is the soaking rain that enters deepest into the earth, when a sudden shower slides away. But herein our ordinary hearers are strangely negligent: they read, they hear, they forget; for they never think nor meditate of it. They turn down leaves in their Bibles in the congregation, but they seldom turn them up again in reflecting upon what they heard; and so their labor is lost, and ours.
But I conclude. It is worth observing, that holy David, among all the rest of his blessed psalms, has one (which is the thirty-eighth psalm) which he styles, “A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.” His memory, it seems, had need of help, as well as ours.
EDIT: After a few comments, I've decided to add these: reciting out loud, and writing out what you are memorizing, are also very good ways to memorize anything. Courtesy of Andy. . . Read the comments to find out more.
EDIT: I've written another blog post that goes very well with this one, called Getting to Know You: How do you Memorize? There are a lot of great techniques mentioned in the comments, that you should definitely check out.
tips, tricks, memorization
As we saw in the first part of this series, the memory is an amazing faculty. God has given it to us to use for his glory, and I can hardly think of anything more glorifying to Him than memorizing His Word! It is our duty to labor to improve our memories, and then to put all of what we remember into practice! So the following is an embellishing of part one, and an answering of the questions, "Why should I pray for God's grace to help improve my memory? Exactly what are the benefits that I will gain?"
The first paragraph is an introduction to the rest.
The sanctification of the memory by fitting things laid up in memory for use and practice. –– This is plainly the work of God by his grace. A notional memory is of little use without a practical; as treasure in a chest is no way useful, though there be much of it, as a penny in the purse, when there is occasion for it. “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,” and on those who “remember to do his commandments.” (Psalm 103:17, 18). And certainly they who commit things to their memories on this design to practice them, shall be able to remember them, when they have need of them, in the course of their practice.
A good memory is very helpful and useful as a great means of knowledge.––For what use is your reading or hearing, if you remember nothing? It is not eating or drinking, but digesting your food, that keeps you alive; and so it is in this case: “My son,” not only “be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings,” but “keep them within your heart.” Then “they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” (Prov. 4:20-22)
A good memory is very helpful and useful as a means of faith.––As is plain in 1 Cor 15:2––“Unless you have believed in vain.” For, though faith rests purely on the word of God, yet when the word and works of God are forgotten, faith will stagger. Hence our Savior says, “O you of little faith, do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand?” etc. (Matt. 16:8-9.) “The word of God is the sword of the Spirit,” (Eph. 6:17), whereby Satan is foiled: but if this sword be out of the way by reason of forgetfulness, how shall we conflict with the enemy??
It is a means of comfort.––If a poor Christian in distress could remember God’s promises, they would inspire him with new life; but when they are forgotten, his spirits sink. Our way to heaven lies over hills and vales: when we are on the hill, we think we shall never be in the dumps again; and so, when we are in the valley, we fear we shall never have comfort again. But now, a faithful memory is a great help: “Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.' I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:10-11). So also, Psalm 119:52: “When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.”
It is a means of repentance.––For, how can we repent or mourn for what we have quite forgotten? As, therefore, there is a blameworthy remembrance of sin, when we remember it in kindness; so there is a praiseworthy remembrance of sin, when we remember it with displeasure: “That you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame.” (Ezek. 16:63). But, alas! We write our sins in sand instead of stone, and foolishly imagine that the eternal God forgets them just as soon as we; though in such cases he has said and sworn, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” (Amos 8:7)
And it is a means of usefulness.––No man should, nor indeed can, be singly religious. When one spark of grace is truly kindled in the heart, it will quickly endeavor to heat others also. So for counsel: we are born, we are new-born, to be helpful to others. Herein a good memory is exceedingly useful; out of which, as out of a storehouse, a wise Christian may “bring forth matters both new and old.” (Matt. 8:52). Such may say, “We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us,” this and that observation. (Psalm 44:1). Likewise, “As we have heard, so have we seen,” what may be very useful to many a soul. (Psalm 48:8).
So that, you see, a good memory is useful in many ways, as a means of knowledge, faith, comfort, repentance, and usefulness. What Christian would not desire these things??? It is my prayer that you would be moved by this small endeavor. God will be pleased if we use our memories for his glory. We cannot but help glorifying Him if we use our memories to "store up his Word in our hearts that we might not sin against him!" Psalm 119:11
The next and last part of the series will be about very practical ways to improve your memory.
The intended mission for this post is to create a place where everyone can encourage one another by sharing what large-(or small)-scale memorization projects they are currently working on. This post is obviously very small, so let's make up for it in comments!!
projects, personal goals, getting to know you
Those of you who have been memorizing for more than a little while know that taking time out of each day to concentrate completely and totally on God's Word is not always easy. With our hectic lives and busy schedules, it's easy to allow the cares of this world to steal from us the time that rightfully belongs to the Lord. What we're doing with our time (talking on the telephone, surfing the web, etc.) may not be inherently sinful, but if it keeps us out of the Word, then we need to reevaluate our priorities.
To be thoroughly transparent, I have been going through one of those "dry times" in which memorizing Scripture comes difficult to me and, with hundreds of memverse users out there, I'm confident that I am not alone. The verses just don't seem to be sticking in my memory, and finding the time - or perhaps making the time - seems more difficult than ever. No doubt the Word of God has not changed: I'm still memorizing from the same Book that imparted to me indescribable joy and peace just a few weeks ago. Surely, if I it brought me such joy then, it can bring me that same joy again today.
So what do we do then? Do we just stick to our routine and hope that things work out by themselves? Well, I guess that's an option; but I believe the answer to this problem is to simply rediscover the joy of memorizing Scripture. Think back for a moment of time to the day when you committed your very first Bible verse, or perhaps an entire chapter, to memory. Do you remember the joy that flooded your soul as you began to uncover the hidden treasures found in God's Word? If so, know that the same joy you had then can be found in the same place you discovered it in the first place: the Scriptures.
Perhaps you have never felt this way. Maybe you've been memorizing for months, or even years, and you're still going strong. If that's the case, congratulations! But let me encourage you to bookmark this page, because you'll likely need it at some point in the future.
What's your story? Have you ever been, or are you now, discouraged in your memorization? How did you overcome that discouragement? We'd love to hear, and be encouraged by, your testimony!
When a verse has more than one user it goes through the verification process and we convert all the double dashes ("--") and dashes without spaces around them to (" - "). If you are entering verses, please enter them that way as it will save us time on the verification side. More importantly, the feedback section of the website doesn't handle double dashes correctly. It will also interpret a dash without spaces around it as a hyphen.
So for instance, Ephesians 2:8 should be entered as:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —
and not as:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
If you would like to remove one or more verses from your list of memory verses, simply go to the "My Verses" page (under the 'Home' tab) and check the box(es) next to the verse(s) you would like to remove. At the bottom of the page, click the "Delete Selected" button to finish.
If you're getting started on memorizing scripture, don't underestimate the importance of keeping the list of verses you're working on manageable. Look at your time required and try to keep it realistic. In fact, if you're starting out, we recommend aiming for 5-10 mins per day. Yes, there are many times when memorizing the bible adds a spring to your step and you will get to the end of your list of verses and think "I wish there were more to do, let me add another 20 verses." But like any pursuit in life, there will be days (maybe even weeks) when you might not hear a choir of heavenly angels singing as you joyfully memorize your verses.
If you find that you have a day with only a few verses to review, rather take the extra time to explore some of the other areas of Memverse. Work on the reference recall section. Take the accuracy test. Read through the list of popular verses. Maybe just sit down and read the sections around your favorite memory verses (Gal 5:19-21, for instance).
We have seen many people drop out shortly after adding too many verses. If you feel as though you're falling behind, consider deleting a few verses and re-adding them later.
Finally, it's always a good idea to stop adding verses in advance of a crunch time. If you know that you're going on a long vacation, or exams are looming, or you're about to have a baby, stop adding verses about a month in advance. This will give you time to consolidate the memory verses you're working on and will enable you to stick to your routine throughout those busy periods. I failed to take my own advice before having our first baby. In fact, I took the opposite approach and actually increased my time allocation in the few months before. Despite my best intentions I've missed a few days here and there and I now find myself logging in with 120 verses due for review!
Remember, lots of small steps taken with purpose over a lifetime will get you to your destination.
getting started, deleting verses
We are alive and well if somewhat tired. (Even the cats are tired!)
We have started to realize that there are slight discrepancies in the various Bible translations. Apparently given translations made slight changes over the years as they published new editions. So, for instance, early NIV translations contain slight differences to the later NIV translations.
Believe us when we say that this disturbs our sense of order in the world but for now we are going to have to pick an arbitrary reference as our gold standard. Many people have reported errors in verses which, as far as we can tell, are in accordance with the translations on Bible Gateway and YouVersion. (We realize that there are occasionally very obvious errors in the translations on both of those website and we do our best to report them when we discover them.) While we realize that everyone would like to memorize verses as they appear in their Bible, it is currently beyond our capabilities to provide support for different publication dates of the same translation.
For now, though, if you think you have found an error in a verse which is currently flagged as 'Verified', please first check it against both Bible Gateway and YouVersion. If you still believe that there is an error, please let us know through the feedback forum either via the "Feedback" tab on all pages or at http://getsatisfaction.com/Memverse and describe the error. If a verse that you have reported as having an error is re-classified as 'Verified' without any change being made, it is because it matches what is shown on Bible Gateway.
Apologies to everyone for falling behind on verifying the verses but we didn't want to add to the confusion without an explanation. And thanks again to everyone for using the official Memverse Error Reporting Method.
People often ask how long it will be before a verse is classified as 'Memorized'. That's a valid question since it is, after all, the purpose of the Memverse.
Recall that a verse is classified as memorized once the interval has grown to more than 30 days. Let's look at two cases:
1. Starting a verse you have already memorized
Assuming you enter a verse that you already know perfectly. You start on January 1st, 2010 and every time the memory verse comes up for review you select option 5 because you can recall the verse perfectly without any hesitation. The interval will change as follows:
By the end of January, the memory verse will be classified as 'Memorized'
2. Starting a new, difficult memory verse
Now let's consider the case where you start a brand new memory verse on January 1st, 2010 that is difficult to memorize (Ephesians 1 is a good place to look for such verses). Each time the memory verse comes up for review, you select option 3 because you are struggling to remember the verse. You are able to recall it without flipping over the flashcard but there is plenty of erasing and reliance on the feedback. In that case, the interval will change as follows:
As you can see, the option you select makes a big difference to the time it takes to get a Bible verse memorized. Don't be tempted to select option 5 when you don't know the verse perfectly as you will later find that you can't recall the verse because the interval grows too quickly and you can't retain the verse over such a long period. These days I make frequent use of button 3 because that way I know it will be cemented in my memory. In most cases, you will find that it will take somewhere between a month and three months before a verse is classified as 'Memorized' since you will use a combination of the buttons based on your recall.
This is also why it's good to keep a 'pipeline' of verse that you're working on. Use the time commitment that is reported at the end of your memorization session as a guideline for when you should add more verses.
A Gem, a Swiss Cheese, and the Whole Enchilada
Most methods for scripture memorization take a linear approach: start at Chapter 1:1 and add a verse or two every day or two until you reach the end. I'm sure many of you have tried to memorize a chapter, or maybe an entire book, and have used some variant on this method. I know I have tried and become discouraged using this method and I'm sure many of you have too. I would suggest that this method was appropriate for memorizing from a printed (or handwritten) page but I think there is a better way. If you've every tried to memorized Romans and lost steam somewhere towards the end of Chapter 1 with a firm understanding of the wrath of God being revealed against the wickedness of mankind but wondering why Paul longed to visit Rome, then this method could be for you.
One of the biggest disadvantages of starting at the beginning and working your way through a book, is that at the end you often remember the start a lot better than the end. Assuming you make it to the end. In the worst case, you only remember the start. (Remember those high school courses? Do you remember the first chapter better than the last chapter today?) A far better method is to start with the most important sections of a passage and then add in the details later.
An Example: Memorizing Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
The Swiss Cheese approach that I recommend would work as follows:
- The Gem: start with a key verse or two for the entire passage. For instance, for Galatians it could be Galatians 2:16. Look at Memverse's list of popular verses if you need ideas.
- Swiss Cheese: over time, gradually add key verses that summarize themes or major ideas in Galatians. For example, in the letter to the Galatians Paul mentions crucifixion three times: Gal 2:20 (crucifying the self), Gal 5:24 (crucifying the sinful nature), and Gal 6:14 (crucifying the world). There are lots of key verses in Galatians that you could use. By adding these first, you will begin to better recognize the structure of epistle and the main ideas will be drawn out. More importantly, you will be entrenching the major themes in your memory first. Even if you stop memorizing at this point, you will have the foundational verses to build upon later.
- The Whole Enchilada: The best way to then complete the book or chapter, is to fill in the gaps. Add the verses around your anchor verses and gradually fill in the holes in the swiss cheese.
Memverse is ideally suited to this approach to memorizing. It has the advantage of memorizing key ideas first and is a great way to integrate studying and memorizing into one activity. I actually leave as many holes in my swiss cheese as possible. That way, everything stays in manageable bits until you add the connecting verses. If you're memorizing an entire book, you can start with the key chapters and complete each one individually. Or, you can add verses from all over the book and then gradually fill in the gaps across the entire book.
There is one caution, though: be careful to not leave out verses that you find difficult to accept or less inspiring. Those verses that will convict you at the times in your life when you need them the most, are very often the verses that everyone else neglected to memorize as well.
If you do tend to be a very linear thinker and are confident in your ability to persevere to the end, Andrew Davis (at John Piper's church in Minnesota) has published an article on "An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture" which some people have found works well.